Some 96,000 diploma students from 93 polytechnic institutes in the country have been given stipends under the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) to ensure better employability both in local and overseas job markets, BSS reports. The STEP has also strengthened the polytechnic institutions (43 public and 50 private) to improve the quality of skills training and align curriculum with skills market demand. Started in 2010, the project, financed by World Bank (WB), also promotes women’s skills training and employability through technical and vocational education, said a WB press release today.
The stipend programme initiated a universal coverage scheme for all the female diploma students in 2012. The female beneficiary share has increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent, while the female trainees in supported courses reached 30 per cent against the target of 20 per cent. The World Bank approved the US$ 79 million STEP project in June 2010 and
Canada approved grants equivalent to US$ 20 million in March 2013. Besides, the selected polytechnic institutions have reshuffled their management committees by including industry representatives.
The government has hired 1,141 contractual teachers in 49 public polytechnic institutes to fill up 98 per cent of the vacancies and they are receiving pedagogical and subject training at home and abroad. On the other hand, partnership agreement with Nanyang Polytechnic International, Singapore has been inked for teachers’ training. Nearly 65 per cent of the polytechnic institutes established industrial partnerships for internships, job placement and job counseling for all students. In addition, it is assisting 33 polytechnic institutes to implement development plans and supporting 64 short-course training providers.
The short-course providers have trained 47,000 trainees in 38 trades. Among the trainees, 34 per cent of the graduates got jobs within six months of training. In all, 840 unskilled and semiskilled industry labourers have been trained through industry collaboration with the BGMEA, of whom 88 per cent got employment. The project will provide training to around 10,000 labourers. More than 1700 trainees got job offers through meeting industry representatives at a job fair organized for the short-course trainees in collaboration with the CAMPE. At the same time, the project launched the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), for the first time in the country in September 2014 aiming to assess the skills levels of the existing workforce in the informal economy to certify their skills.
Of the eight batches of RPL training and assessment, 1,190 candidates were assessed and 76 per cent were certified “competent”. With its growing demand, RPL will continue every month, targeting an additional 4,000 trainees for certification.